Gavin A.

Teaching Fish to climb

No child's brain is the same, yet schools teach every kid the same curriculum the same way.

T E A C H I N G   F I S H   T O    C L I M B

Do schools prepare us for the future, or for a boring cubicle job? Every day in math is a stressful nightmare, and much of the stress is unnecessary. From experience with adults, many of them don’t use, or even remember much of the math in middle and high school. And for me, and aspiring author or English teacher, the only math i’ll use is percentages and adding and subtracting. So why teach things we won’t use? There is no answer. My hope is for America to abolish common core, and for schools to focus on the needs and talents of children, instead of teaching every unique brain the same things. Schools teach things we don’t need to know instead of empowering and strengthening talents and imagination.

I love school, but only when I’m learning things I find of value. Of course everyone’s values can change, but for the most part they stay the same. A kid who loves science now will love science in the future, and I kid who loves writing now will love it in the future. The classes you want to take should be optional. Everyone should learn the basics of everything, and some classes should be necessary. But those that don’t apply to our aspirations, and interests should be our choice. If not than there will be more dropouts and more suicides in the future. Kids and adults should live happy lives to their full potential.

1.3 million students dropped out of high school in the class of 2010, dangerously close to when common core was implemented. Everyday, students are frustrated and feel worthless with the overly difficult common core standards. Every child’s brain is different, and every kid has different strengths. When their strengths aren't recognized they feel useless. Chris Hedges, a experienced and educated writer who worked for The New York Times, says the school system “prizes test scores above critical thinking and literacy.” And it’s true. Common core focuses more on tests than creative thinking and discussion.

As america tries to make education better, they are actually making it worse.“30 years ago, America was the leader in quantity and quality of high school diplomas. Today, our nation is ranked 36th in the world.” reveals, a website dedicated to 5.5 million kids trying to make a difference. By making school harder, will more kids be successful? No. The same logic is if a teacher gave a test with things nobody knew, and wanted everybody to pass. It’s not possible. If you want more kids to go to college and be successful, make the curriculum manageable.

Imagine Cole, a 9th grader at Garden-bridge high, is in his room. His homework is lying on his desk, crumpled up under frustration. In the bathroom the sink is running, Cole looks in the mirror and sees someone who is stupid and worthless. Blood fills the sink. Although this anecdote is extreme, It could be very real. In 2006 the teen suicide rate was 14%, but in 2011 to 2013, the time when common core was implemented, the suicide rate in teens went up to 17% a significant rise. The school system today is degrading. They teach every kid the same things, yet every kid’s brain is different. Not every kid is going to be great or even good at a subject in school, so why have teachers teach things that aren’t important?

Many times I've felt frustrated and tired with my current education. I think every kid has felt some sort of stress one way or another, but sometimes the stress is too much to handle. To be completely honest, I’ve thought of suicide as my only way of getting out of work I didn’t understand, and didn’t care to. Although it may seem irrational, those thoughts were still there. Frustration leads to anxiety which leads to panic attacks and depression. I was fine and happy in all my other classes, it was just that one class that made me suffer.

The school systems degrading curriculum produces good test takers instead of independent, critical thinking, creative people of society. We need to take action in creating a movement against the school system so it can recognize every kid’s strengths. No more algebra, unless it applies to your interests. No more British literature you want to learn it. No more physics unless it applies to your goals. “Everybody is a Genius. But If You Judge a Fish by Its Ability to Climb a Tree, It Will Live Its Whole Life Believing that It is Stupid.” -Albert Einstein